WASHINGTON: The United States suffered its deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic yet, with nearly 2,000 deaths between Tuesday and Wednesday.
Statistics released by various monitoring agencies showed that by Wednesday afternoon, the death toll had risen to 14,210. The country also added more than 100,000 coronavirus cases in just three days as the total number of climbed to 410,843.
France too recorded the highest one-day total between Tuesday and Wednesday, 1,417, but monitors in the United States had already registered 197,0 deaths by late Tuesday afternoon while dozens more were added later.
New York, the epicenter of the viral outbreak in the United States, also suffered the single deadliest day of fatalities, with more than 800 deaths in the last 24 hours. Other states, such as New Jersey, Louisiana and Florida, are also expected to peak soon.
The United States registered its first Covid-19 case on Jan. 20 and took more than two months to move to 100,000 cases on March 29. But then the infections began to multiply rapidly, taking less than a week to reach 200,000 cases on April 2. And on April 4, they crossed 300,000. By April 8 afternoon, 406,700 people had tested positive to the virus.
Unnerved by the rising deaths and infections, US President Donald Trump is now accusing the World Health Organisation (WHO) of failing to alert the world community about the severity of this pandemic.
At a White House news briefing on Tuesday evening, Mr Trump accused the WHO of being “very China centric” and threatened to stop US funding for this UN health agency. The United States provides about 20 percent of the agency’s total funds.
“We’re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO. We’re going to put a very powerful hold on it, and we’re going to see,” he said.
Mr. Trump also claimed that the WHO opposed travel bans and lockdowns, which allowed the virus to spread across the globe.
The WHO responded to his allegations on Wednesday, reminding him that this was not the time to indulge in such disputes.
“We are still in the acute phase of a pandemic so now is not the time to cut back on funding,” Dr Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said at a virtual briefing.
President Trump, however, withdrew his threat minutes after the declaration, conceding that a global pandemic “maybe not” the best time to freeze funding for a health agency. “I mean, I’m not saying I’m going to do it, but we are going to look at it,” he said.
Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2020